HD Hyundai Partners With American Defense Contractor on Autonomous Ships

Anduril Dive LD
Anduril's Dive-LD autonomous underwater vehicle (Courtesy Anduril)

Published Apr 16, 2024 9:08 PM by The Maritime Executive


HD Hyundai, the largest Korean shipbuilder, has decided to join forces with American defense contractor Anduril on designing advanced naval vessels for U.S. and South Korean customers. 

“With the rise of autonomous naval systems as a significant component for future maritime defense, we expect to pioneer the market with our warship-building capacity and leading defense technology combined," said Won-ho Joo, COO of naval shipbuilding at HD Hyundai.

Anduril has its roots in the military UAV space, including advanced drone fighters, but it has expanded its portfolio to include autonomous underwater vehicles, maritime domain awareness, and an overarching autonomous command and control system called Lattice OS. Its specialty is in low-cost, mass-produced, attritable autonomous systems - checking all the boxes for the Pentagon's rush to procure unmanned equipment at scale. 

The partnership with HD Hyundai mirrors that low-cost, high-volume, high-autonomy ethos, and offers an answer to the Navy's most serious challenges: limited yard capacity and limited manpower. The announcement follows just a month after Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro visited HD Hyundai and invited the firm's executives to invest in American shipbuilding.

The partnership will also look at ways that Hyundai can help out with the manufacturing side of Anduril's  maritime product line, including future maritime systems. 

“Together, our companies will define a new maritime arsenal of democracy—one that both restores naval capacity through modern shipbuilding and mass manufacturing practices, while also enhancing naval capability," said Christian Brose, Chief Strategy Officer at Anduril.